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U.S.: choosing Egyptian leadership up to the Egyptian people

Jan. 17, 2014 at 12:09 PM

WASHINGTON, Jan. 17 (UPI) -- A U.S. State Department spokeswoman said it was up to the Egyptian people to pick their leaders following word Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi will run for president.

Egyptians who took part in a two-day referendum on a new constitution expressed overwhelming support for the measure. Amr Moussa, the former Arab League secretary-general who chaired a constitutional committee, told pan-Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat he'd endorse Sisi if he chose to run in the wake of the referendum.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said during her regular press briefing Thursday it was up to the Egyptian people to decide who leads the country.

General al-Sisi took power in Egypt after the military removed Mohammed Morsi from power in July. The new constitution would replace the one adopted by Morsi's administration, which was seen as leaning too heavily in favor of the Islamic ideologies of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Morsi, a civilian and Muslim Brotherhood member, took office in 2012 in Egypt's first-ever democratic elections. He was imprisoned after his ouster, which his supporters described as a military coup.

Psaki said the U.S. government was frustrated that some people were being arrested in Egypt on what appeared to be political grounds.

"The Egyptian government has an opportunity to make the most of this political transition, and we urge them to take advantage of it for the benefit of all," she said.

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